Local craft cider make hoping for level playing field on excise relief

Photo from the Apple Farm Facebook page

A Tipperary cider producer is backing calls for the government to expedite plans to cut excise on their produce.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a profoundly negative impact on the Irish cider sector last year according to the Irish Cider Market Report from Drinks Ireland.

Con Traas from The Apple Farm near Cahir began producing a craft-cider almost a decade ago.

He says allowing excise relief similar to that already afforded to craft-beer producers would make a huge difference.

“They pay half the rate of duty compared to the large manufacturers. That makes them cost competitive then because obviously their other costs of production – they would be using a lost more labour in their processes and maybe more expensive ingredients and so on – so it levels the playing field again.

“It certainly gives plenty of space for anyone with an orchard or anyone interested in doing it at a scale where they might have two or three employees involved in it.”

Con Traas says a lot of the groundwork has already been done on the reduced excise.

“From a legislation point of view it would have been possible to bring it in last year in the Budget and there was political agreement that that would happen but at the last minute it turned out that the Revenue didn’t have time to create the structures needed because they’d need a new administration process I’d presume to check on what the people are producing.

“So it’s been delayed for a year and we’re just hoping that it won’t be delayed again and that it will come in this year.”